What started as a slow offseason has picked up recently for the Anaheim Ducks, as they’ve been in the middle of one of the bigger trades of the offseason, shipping Bobby Ryan out of town, and have been a bit more active in the free agent market, picking up Dustin Penner.
This summer has been more about retaining players, more so than trying to bring new guys in. Ben Lovejoy has a new contract, as does Saku Koivu. They set themselves up for the future in trading Ryan, acquiring Jakob Silfverberg, another prospect, and a first round pick.
Dustin Penner adds another element to this team, and if he can rediscover the form that he flashed in his first stint with the Ducks, his one-year deal will become a steal. If he’s on his game, he’ll add some secondary scoring to a team that needs it. If Teemu Selanne returns, this team is sitting pretty heading into next year.
However, this isn’t a team without its questions at this point. Despite improving the quality of their roster overall, in a summer following a season in which they grabbed the no. 2 seed in the Western Conference, is this team strong enough to contend for a Stanley Cup?
Goaltending is still a bit of a question. The tandem of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth is a solid one, but it remains to be seen if they’re the duo to get the Ducks to the promised land. It’d be interesting to see how Fasth fares in the postseason, if he’s able to take the job from Hiller this year, as Hiller was a bit underwhelming in the playoffs.
The blue line is older, with their guys logging key minutes starting to approach an age where you don’t necessarily want them logging 25 minutes a game. Secondary scoring is also a question. They’re not as top heavy without Ryan, but can their guys outside of the top line put the puck in the net with some consistency?
These are questions that will become answers during the regular season. If they can answer these questions in the affirmative, this is a team that is a very real threat to take home the Cup. But at the same time, they’re just as capable of a letdown after a very strong 2013 season.